Plot generators can be quite helpful to overcome writer’s block or to help you practice writing. But is the RanGen Plot Generator a good choice for getting some of those ideas?
The short answer is, “yes and no.”
Sure, it has a few tools to help you get some ideas for a storyline. However, it also comes at a price in the form of advertisements.
I’ll explain that a bit further in a moment.
What is the RanGen Plot Generator?
RanGen is a platform with a series of random generators for everything from plot ideas to names and items. This includes first encounters with characters as well as writing prompts.
While several of the generators on the site work exceptionally well with detailed elements, others are a bit lacking. For example, the “Items” generator will simply give you a name of an item without any context.
RanGen only has three available genres in the plot generator. These include Fantasy, Action, and Romance. You also get three levels of detail to choose from: Premise, Detailed, and Complete.
Also, keep in mind that the RanGen plot generator tool hasn’t been updated since 2019 as of this review.
Still, it may be helpful to get a few ideas. And based on my recent experiences, I’ll try to be as unbiased as possible. I’ll explain some of the issues I had down below.
What Can You Expect from the RanGen Plot Generator?
There is actually quite a bit to unpack for RanGen. And although it has quite a bit of potential, it’s still not as robust as some of the other plot generators I’ve come across.
Nonetheless, it’s functional enough to at least review some of what it can handle.
Scam Advertisement WARNING!
First, and foremost, I ran into an issue with malicious popups from the RanGen Plot Generator page.
It didn’t install a virus or malicious code. However, the popup that launched was from a site known to use push notifications to dupe people into thinking that their computers are infected.
I’ve visited RanGen several times in the past and this is the first time it had happened. So, I am leaning more toward malicious popup advertising from the platform the developer is using to monetize the website.
Probably something like Smart Adserver or another European company.
Still, it’s of utmost importance that you are careful not to click on any popups from RanGen. If one appears, it’s better to simply reload the page and hope for a different ad to launch.
Quite a List of Relevant Generators to Use
The RanGen website has a growing list of generators that work for a variety of purposes. It goes well beyond a plot generator as it can also generate some of the elements within the plot.
For instance, you can quickly create towns, characters, plot devices, and more that accompany the plot as a whole.
While it isn’t as robust when it comes to ideation variation, RanGen could still serve the purpose of helping you plan out the basics.
Perhaps the randomly generated elements can spark your own imagination to create something completely unique.
Limited Plot Elements in the RanGen Generator
After a few attempts, you’ll start to see the limitations of the RanGen Plot Generator in terms of variety. It doesn’t seem like there are a lot of points the platform has available.
For instance, I saw “Living quietly,” an awful lot while testing out different generations. Out of the many plots I generated, the opening of the ideas changed maybe 20 to 25 times.
This means that it only has so many combinations for a randomly generated plot. And the fewer the combinations, the more unlikely you’ll create something unique for your story.
Makes Better Sense Than Others
Something else I’d like to point out is how RanGen does seem to make better sense with its plots than some of the others I’ve tried.
When putting a string of ideas together, it seems to make a lot better sense than when using something like Masterpiece Plot Generator – which was anything but a Masterpiece, to be honest.
In any case, the verbiage and logical flow of the ideas work, for the most part.
Sure, you’ll come across a few that’ll leave you scratching your head. However, the majority of the random plots weren’t too bad, from a writer’s perspective.
Slowly Adding New Generators to the List
According to the site’s developer, they are currently working on adding more generators and updating the ones that are available. However, I’m not exactly holding my breath.
It looks as though a single person is maintaining the site, and coming from someone who knows a lot about time constraints, the individual definitely has a lot of ambition.
Yet, some of the newer generators aren’t too bad to use. I just hope the plot generator itself gets a few more elements to increase the likelihood of coming across something unique.
Not Thrilled About the Overall Site Design
I’m not a fan of the layout or color scheme of RanGen. Not to mention the popup advertisements that are clearly scams.
I’d suggest the developer changes the way they monetize the website.
In any case, it’s quite busy from a visual perspective, and the massive black box above the fold is a bit off-putting.
Though, it’s probably more like a placeholder for certain random ads. I’ve seen the occasional AdSense ad in this section. Still, you can design the site to not show the placeholder section if no ad is showing.
Feels Tailored for RPGs More Than Anything
If you’re seriously into fantasy RPGs, I can see the RanGen Plot Generator as being a useful tool. Although some of the generators could be beefed up a bit, such as the Items generator, it may still help prompt a few ideas.
In this regard, I can also see how RanGen could accompany something like Campfire Writing quite well. Both platforms feel geared around fantasy role-playing games and may complement each other nicely.
If this is your cup of tea, you should check out the Tavern Name generator. It’s actually kind of fun to create some campaign starting points, despite a tavern being a bit of a cliche in fantasy RPGs.
Serious Concerns I Have for RanGen…
As I pointed out above, the RanGen Plot Generator has been related to scam advertising and popups. However, I highly doubt the creator is aware of the issue.
In this particular case, the “equaffism.com” website began pushing notifications to the browser after I allowed popups from RanGen.
Although it’s not an infection per se, it’s incredibly annoying to get push notifications about fake viruses and malware updates through your web browser.
It’s easy enough to stop, as you simply either remove or block notifications from equaffism.com. If you’re using Chrome, it’ll take about 30 seconds to get rid of equaffism.
That’s what happens when you use ad networks outside of AdSense. Google might be a cheap pain in the ass, but at least they’re on the ball when it comes to scammy advertisements like this.
Of course, the scam could have also been something outside of ad-sharing networks. Since RanGen does have a lot of ads and affiliate links, it could be something else entirely.
The bottom line is that I don’t trust websites that launch malicious popups.
Would I Continue Using the RanGen Plot Generator?
Although some of the generators on RanGen are kind of fun to play around with, I highly doubt I’ll return to the site. Mostly, this is because I don’t trust sites that promote malicious ads.
I know it’s not the fault of the creator, but there needs to be some responsibility when faced with that kind of issue. In fact, I debated on not doing a review of RanGen and just letting it be.
However, I wanted to make sure that people understood what they could get themselves into, especially since the RanGen Plot Generator is on so many “best of” lists on the Internet.
Sure, it has some decent functionality. But I’d rather not have to deal with ad-serving networks that don’t monitor their inventories as closely as AdSense.
Perhaps it’s more of personal preference, but I’d rather not potentially screw my visitors for the sake of making a buck.
Where Do You Get Story Ideas?
Music is perhaps one of the greatest influences on my story ideas. I tend to visualize what a live-action music video would look like for my book. Then, I fill in the blanks.
I also like using historical mysteries and the unknown while letting my imagination investigate the circumstance.
However, I do see the value in using plot generators to help stir the pot of creativity, including RanGen. Though, I would prefer not to be scammed by advertisements.
How do you get ideas for your stories?
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